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Top tips when booking meetings and conferences 14 Jan 2015

We promised you some top tips through our social media campaign to help and advise you on how to save valuable time and money when booking your next meeting/conference. Utilising our team and the hospitality experience we have, and thinking long and hard about the obstacles that we face, here are some treasured trade secrets we thought would benefit you:

  1. Consider what your delegates want: Since you’re booking the venue it’s easy to pick, for example, a lunch menu which you prefer or a particular location which is you like best, however by doing a quick survey you might find the majority prefer a restaurant lunch rather than a buffet, or a city centre venue location. This way you can use the majority vote, which will not only keep your delegates happy, but may also increase your attendees.
  2. Change it up, do something different: Technology is continuing to advance and improve as we speak. Why not try something different, dynamic and more interactive for your delegates.  Make their experience more enjoyable, whether it’s at your annual conference or weekly sales meeting, let them have fun!
  3. Know your budget: This is very important. Your location can rely on your budget because depending on the area price can change drastically. It’s a lot easier if you know your budget per head or average per night to give you an indication of types of venues you can consider, which in turn will help you to stick to your budget. It will also save you valuable time as you won’t be enquiring at venues that aren’t going to be able to match your budget.
  4. Planning is vital: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail couldn’t be said more true when booking meetings or conferences. Certain areas are more popular than others due to location, common industry that draws people to that area, i.e Oil and Gas week, or a large event taking place. If you don’t plan enough time in advance you may be left with limited availability and struggle to book something suitable and in budget.

As you can see there is a lot to think about- and that’s just a few tips! As you know, it’s not as easy as just picking up the phone and booking a venue. Why not get in touch and we will support you through the journey, giving you best practice tips and advice, helping you make the right decisions and working with you to save you valuable time and money.  Call 0844 822 3227 or email: emma@hospitalityguaranteed.co.uk

Emma Hall

 

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New Year, New Venue? 05 Jan 2015

Happy New Year from the HG team!

When we looked back on 2014 we realised it’s been a very busy year here at HG. We would like to share with you some of our successes and achievements, remembering the hard work and how much we value our clients:

  • We raised over £500 for the North East Air Ambulance by competing in the Stockton Duathlon
  • Welcomed six new members to the team (new team page coming soon…)
  • Gained 1,855 new venues registered to HG One Stop
  • Achieved a 5 star customer service rating for yet another year running (see what you thought about our service… http://www.hgonestop.co.uk/hospitality_guaranteed/testimonials )
  • Helped over 30,000 delegates attend conferences throughout the UK and Europe
  • Successfully launched Apprentice Stop in September 2014
  • Just under 30,000 hours worked at HG to help support our clients
  • Shortlisted in the Internet and ICT category for our bespoke online system Conference Stop, at The North East Business Awards
  • Attended Fam Trips all over Europe to gain first-hand experience, strengthening our knowledge of venues

We have many plans already in the pipeline for 2015 and we know it’s going to be a promising year. We would like to thank you for all your support and hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year.

If you're looking to join us in being bigger and better this year and decide that a new venue will help you start 2015 with a bang, just get in touch on 0844 822 3227. We can help make your next conference, meeting or January Kick Off a better experience for your delegates by sourcing the perfect venue!

Emma Hall

Setting up a Corporate Rate 03 Dec 2014

Following on from our last blog post highlighting the importance of a corporate rate, I’m sure you’re all wondering: how do I get one of those? So we've put together some simple tips and hints which may help you!

How can I set up a corporate rate?

One major factor that is essential for setting up a corporate rate is specific information the venue will require in order to give you the best possible opportunity to negotiate the cheapest rate; basically the more you book the better the rate. To get this vital information you need a way of tracking and recording your bookings, many companies will do this through a manual process using spreadsheets. Every booking that is made has to be manually typed into a spreadsheet which can be very time consuming and there is also room for human error.

Where can I get the information required quickly and accurately?

Advances in technology now means that any reputable booking company will have invested in a system that can be used for all your booking requirements and track, monitor and record what you’re spending and where.  Hospitality Guaranteed have produced an industry leading system whereby bookings are placed, stored and archived and Management Information can be instantly accessed and downloaded.  This information is like your pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, except this one actually exists! It’s this gold that gives you buying power which in turn saves you time and money. It's also vital information for making buying decision within your company.

So, I've got my information, what do I do now?

Once you have this information, you need a method of contacting as many venues as possible to establish what facilities they have (i.e. car parking facilities, maximum room capacity, access to rail and transport links), what rate they can offer you based on your Management Information, and what they can give you as added value to stand out from other competitors. You also need a way of being able to collate all that information into one report so you can shortlist which venues have the best potential.

Help, how can I do that?

Don’t worry, we have a smart solution for you! You might have heard of it; HG One Stop. HG One Stop is Hospitality Guaranteed's bespoke on-line system that can automatically send out RFQ’s (Rate Finding Quotation) that asks all the important questions you need to know, collate the information for you and allows you to easily export from the system into a one comprehensible report.

Want to set up a Corporate Rate?

Give us a call today on 0844 8223227 and we can start looking into how to save your company precious time and money, or contact emma@hospitalityguaranteed.co.uk

Emma Hall

The Importance of a Corporate Rate 17 Nov 2014

Saving money is always a priority, whether you’re in Procurement, Finance or just an everyday person traveling on business. That’s why I thought it would be a good idea to write about the importance of a corporate accommodation rate.

Firstly, what is a corporate rate?

A corporate rate is an agreed rate for a certain period of time based on a pre-agreed number of bed nights or spends in a specific location- this is a fixed rate and does not increase in line with the other flexible rates the hotel is selling. This could be, for example, an agreed accommodation rate including breakfast or dinner in a regularly used location.

When booking accommodation, it’s not a secret that prices and terms vary drastically from one minute to the next. The rate you are offered from hotels and websites depends mainly on the location you have selected and the availability within the area which causes headaches when trying to manage travel costs and company budgets.

Why do normal booking rates vary so much?

I have tried to outline a prime example of this; Employee 1 books a room @ £75.00, that afternoon Employee 2 books the same hotel for the same dates @ £95.00, the following day Employee 3 books the same hotel and same dates @ £120.00 the explanation of this by the hotel is that the demand for the rooms has gone up hour by hour and day/day and they now have fewer rooms to sell pushing the price of the rooms up. Massively frustrating for the budget holder and the manager of the department as costs cannot be controlled.

How can a Corporate Rate help?

In the above situation a corporate rate could help massively. For example, a set rate of £75.00 B&B can keep all bookings at the same rate, whatever time of the year you are booking subject to the hotels “availability and terms”. The rooms can be honoured for a higher percentage of their available room stock and your employees can take advantage of knowing that in most cases this is the rate that they will be offered, the managers and budget holders are happy as they can now report and review the spend and forecasts are more aligned to actual figures.

How much money can be saved?

If you set up a corporate rate, which more or less guarantees you an agreed rate each time you book, then the cost savings that can be made are fundamental. By setting up a corporate rate for one of our clients we managed to save them £54,770 which was a reduction of 23.59% on their previous year’s savings.

So why doesn't everyone do this?

The only downside to setting up a corporate rate is that it can be time consuming to do as you often need vital statistics and proof of previous bookings prior to the venue confirming a rate. Also, it's often difficult to get through to the most relevant person within the venue to set up a rate, especially if they are used to dealing with larger companies with bigger budgets! As Hospitality Guaranteed will often already have the statistics and contacts required, a corporate rate could be agreed quickly and securely for you. If you would like to chat to us regarding setting up a corporate rate, give us a call on 0844 8223227 or drop me an email: emma@hospitalityguaranteed.co.uk

Emma Hall

 

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meine Reise nach Frankfurt : my trip to Frankfurt 29 Oct 2014

Frankfurt is Germany’s fifth largest city with a population of 680,000. It has many tourist attractions such as The Old Town, Skyscrapers,St. Bartholomäus Imperial Cathedral (Kaiserdom), the Christmas market and much much more. Experiencing Frankfurt from a corporate perspective with its Finance District is very different and almost feels like another world. Hospitality Guaranteed got to experience both. Stepping one way to the cultural historic Frankfurt and stepping the other way and being surrounded by modern skyscraper buildings. It was a phenomenal experience.

Friday 24th October: Hilton Frankfurt Airport

Hilton Frankfurt Airport is literally situated next to Frankfurt Airport with a very unique set up. You’re in a building and Hilton Frankfurt Airport Hotel is in that building (I’m probably not making sense here), basically a building within a building; located in the iconic ‘The Squaire’, which looks like a glass ship from the outside, means that the hotel is sitting on top of the InterCity Express train station, 15 minutes journey from downtown Frankfurt. You have immediate access to the airport via Terminal 1 as well as a connection to the intersection of the A3 and A5 motorways.

My suite was larger than most flats I’ve been in. There was a coffee station and mini bar and to top it off I had both a bath and shower in the main onsite bathroom. This makes a massive difference for me whether I’m traveling for leisure or corporate because you never know when you're going to have a long day and all you want to do is soak in the bath. As soon as I seen the size of the tub I  could have ran a steamy bubble bath and ate my complimentary chocolates and grapes like a true queen in her tower.

The staff and service at the hotel were brilliant. The staff truly went that extra mile for you. I, not surprisingly, forgot my adaptor and even though there was a UK plug in the room it was attached to the business desk for using your laptop and it wasn’t near a mirror. I asked at reception if they had any adaptors and unfortunately they didn’t have any left, but they didn’t stop there. The receptionist rang the Hilton Garden Inn next door and managed to get an adaptor from them. And the good service continued throughout our stay; at our evening meal the staff were extremely polite, we didn’t have to ask for anything as they were already by our side topping up our wine glasses or asking if we needed anything else. They served a local white wine which was to die for. The meal itself tasted amazing! I’ve not had a meal like it in a hotel before. If this was a local Hilton Hotel close to home I would want to go to this restaurant at my own leisure even if I wasn’t stopping at the hotel.

Saturday 25h October: Hilton Mainz Hotel/ Hilton Frankfurt

I had a lovely sleep, and it wasn’t because of the wine we had, but because the bed was big enough to sprawl out and sleep like a baby. Also, the hotel was very quiet. I was not disturbed by any doors shutting, traffic or public noise all night. A little touch which makes the biggest difference is the fact the bed had a built in reading light so in the morning I could just flick the light on, without any difficulty in reaching for a light/ lamp switch, and it only lit up my side of the bed.

Having a show around the hotel after breakfast we established the hotel can hold maximum capacity of 570 delegates in the main ballroom, with 10 meetings rooms in total. The hotel is only two years old being built in 2012 which means the pictures you see of the hotel actually look exactly the same as the hotel as it does now.

Before I move onto Hilton Mainz Hotel, I will tell you a quick fact about the hotel, which being a huge fan, I was very impressed! Justin Bieber actually stopped at this hotel! Ok, so it’s not the best of facts but imagine going to Frankfurt for business and telling your teenage daughter you stopped in the same hotel as Justin Bieber- major parent points for you!

Hilton Mainz Hotel is similar to Hilton Frankfurt Airport in terms of its modern feel. However it is very different and unique in style; not every Hilton hotel is the same. There is one meeting room in the hotel that has a lot of character with a classic ballroom style decor perfect for awards ceremonies or a private dining function. The hotel is also attached to the Mainz Congress, which has a lot of space for larger events such as exhibitions, making the hotel very flexible in delegate numbers.

My favourite part of the trip was definitely visiting Mainz Old Town. As the Hilton Mainz Hotel is situated on the edge of Old Town on the picturesque banks of the River Rhine there is so much to do and all within walking distance. We took a tour of the town and there was a market going on with fresh vegetables and homemade crafts and there was one stall selling eggs with a rooster. This was a real life rooster- I kid you not! It took me 22years and a trip to Germany to stroke a rooster but it was definitely worth it! The Old Town gave you a really good feel for the culture of Frankfurt and it’s perfect for having a break from your corporate business travel if you get an hour or so in between meetings.

On the Saturday evening we checked-in at Hilton Frankfurt. This hotel has a lot of character and history located in the heart of Frankfurt city centre. The hotel used to be the City Pool and still has a half size Olympic swimming pool. The hotel has kept a running theme throughout of water and waves. You can see this in the lighting fixtures in the meeting rooms as they look like waves and there is a fountain in the reception area that you can hear the running water. One of the staircases is also the old frame of the diving board which was used for the pool.

I’m not a massive fan of heights, in fact I’m terrified! As my suite was on the 12th floor I resisted looking out the window for as long as I could however my curiosity always gets the better of me, which I’m glad as the view was amazing. I could see Frankfurt’s Skyline, including the famous Main Tower and the roads leading into the city. I wasn’t so scared after all as the comfort of my welcoming slippers with my name on them and also some complimentary chocolates definitely helped me feel right at home.

Before heading into the city centre to experience Frankfurt at night, we had a lovely meal and a cocktail making class. This was a brilliant idea for a team activity and we had a lot of fun trying out recipes- my favourite being the Jack Daniels Lynchburg Lemonade. At night we experienced the Main Tower first hand. This tower is 200m tall and to get to the top you have to take a lift which gets you there in about 60 seconds or so. At the top of the Tower you have a panoramic view of Frankfurt, which was breath-taking!

Sunday 26th October

Again, I had an excellent night’s sleep. I think it was the deep purple colour of the room. Purple always makes me quite sleepy to begin with and with good black out curtains and the warmth of the room I slept the full night without stirring. We had the Sunday pretty much at leisure to ourselves so we had a quick sweep of the Business Centre and 16 meeting rooms with a restaurant that has a terrace outside perfect for BBQ style lunches in the summer. We then took a walk into the city centre and passed Frankfurt’s Goethestrasse which is just a block from the hotel and has shops the likes of Tiffany’s, Prada and all the juicy expensive brands! Our trip was truly unforgettable and I would recommend Frankfurt as a great location for a business trip and for leisure…

We would just like to say a massive thank you to Valentina and Barbara for their very kind hospitality and showing us the corporate and leisure side to Frankfurt as a key location for travel. If you would like to see some more images of our trip go to https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.561995293889797.1073741833.105731372849527&type=1

Emma Hall